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A week’s writing retreat + a signed novel by Jane Johnson

A great cause, with a great prize.

Authors for Grenfell Tower: An Online Auction

hopway cottage mouseholejane johnsonITEM: A week’s writing retreat and a signed novel by Jane Johnson.

DETAILS: The winner will receive a signed copy of my novel COURT OF LIONS and a week’s accommodation for two people in our writing retreat in Mousehole, Cornwall (date to be determined according to availability). Value, depending on time of the year, between £450 and £900.

BIO:Poet Dylan Thomas called Mousehole ‘the loveliest village in England’, and he’s not wrong. Historic, picturesque, uniquely Cornish, Mousehole is a traditional fishing village that combines wonderful views with great hospitality, marvellous restaurants and cafes, two safe, sandy beaches and a climate all its own. The cottage is less than 50 yards from one of the best traditional pubs in Cornwall: the Ship Inn. Hopway Cottage Mousehole

WHO CAN BID: Worldwide, but travel costs are the responsibility of the winner. Reserve price on this item is £150.

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The Bandwagon: Closed for annual leave

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Hello dear readers!

Thank you so much for continuing to follow The Bandwagon, and engaging with us here. It’s always a blast.

I’m off on my hols as of tomorrow, so any queries sent through the blog or via email will have to wait until I return on the 3rd of July.

You can read all about our upcoming trip to Cornwall here. I’ll still be active on Instagram, so follow me and be jealous of our holiday (and our cats!).

Introducing: Powerful – Tome 1: The Realm of Harcilor by S. N. Lemoing

The Bandwagon introduces indie author S.N. Lemoing, a fresh feminist voice in the fantasy world.

From the author:

“Several years ago, I wrote this novel to bring some subjects to the fore, such as diverse and powerful female characters, ecology, different families (single parents, large families, poor and rich backgrounds), and diversity of body types. The characters are never totally as they seem to be. The reader can feel a lot of emotions; the story is like a roller-coaster.

About the characters, we have ingenious children and teenagers, a biracial rebel princess and a maimed female warrior, among others. Politics, treason, magical powers, epic battle scenes, a little bit of romance – these are the themes you can find in this story.”

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For twelve years, the power has been usurped at the Realm of Harcilor. Cyr, an erudite, and his adopted son, Kaaz, have formed a secret school.

Indeed, in this world, some people were born endowed with magical abilities: the Silarens.

However, it is not that easy to detect your own powers. They will soon be joined by a mysterious young woman who will provide them with valuable information.

When Litar – the most powerful being of the realm – goes away for two months, they finally foresee the opportunity to act.

Can they win their freedom back? Will they make the right choices?

Grab your copy on Amazon now, or find it on Goodreads. You can keep up to date with the latest book news on the Facebook page.

About The Author

S. N. Lemoing was born in 1987 near Paris, France. S N Lemoing

She graduated in Cinematography and English, studied philosophy, literature and lately, at University, she had the chance to follow classes about the Image of Women in the Media as well as the Female Gaze: Women directors. She then worked as a PA for films and TV, and also wrote, directed and produced episodes for 3 webseries and short films.

The will to write without boundaries led her to become an independent author. Her first novel is POWERFUL – T1: The Realm of Harcilor, a fantasy novel acclaimed by more than 85 French literary bloggers.

Her second book is a sassy chick-lit ‘Mes 7 ex’ (My seven exes), and the 3rd one ‘SHEWOLF’, urban fantasy genre, has been read by 1200+ readers and stayed on the Amazon’s Supernatural top 15 for 5 months.

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Godblind by Anna Stephens

James McStravick reviews Godblind by Anna Stephens.

The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.

Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.

Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?

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Firstly, a big thank you to HarperCollins for sending me an ARC copy of this book for review. Up until a couple of months ago I didn’t know anything about the release of Godblind, but as soon as I read the synopsis for it I knew I would thoroughly enjoy it.

Upon reading the first chapter, I was immensely  blown away by the world and characters I was reading about, as Anna Stephens’ writing style and the world she has crafted naturally just draws you in and makes you want to keep reading more and more.

One aspect I found a double-edged sword is the amount of characters you are introduced to throughout the book (13 was my final count), and the final character doesn’t get introduced until approximately the page 130 mark. Due to this I initially found it quite difficult to remember all the characters, but once I started to learn more about them and their own personality quirks/ traits, I quickly came to recognise who I was reading about.

The reason why I said it was a double-edged sword is because even though I found it initially difficult to remember who a character was, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading about them and I don’t think there was a single character that I didn’t like. Anna Stephens’ concept of characterization is truly inspiring and she constantly keeps you invested in what is happening to them and world around them. Out of all of the characters, my favourite would be either Rillirin or Dom. There are an increasingly number of authors whose books involve strong female characters and Godblind is definitely a pure joy to read from a female perspective, as they don’t stick to the traditional trope, and it is for this reason that why Rillirin is one of my favourite characters.

From the first moment you dive into the world of Rilpor you are quickly dropped into a very important scene in the book, and for me I don’t believe there was a single scene that was unnecessary or slow paced. I have read many authors that have a hard time finding that perfect balance between having necessary scenes and keeping a consistent pace throughout the course of the book. This I believe is one this book’s greatest strengths, because you never want to put the book down as you are always wanting to know more. When it comes to a fight scene you are truly gripped, as they written in a very natural and progressive aspect as a real life battle would be. As I mentioned above coming to grips with the amount of characters can be difficult at first but the story and the short chapters make it very easy read the book and get yourself lost in the world.

The interest in grimdark books is consistently climbing and Godblind fits perfectly within that genre and all the great authors. It is a true joy to read and Anna Stephens is truly a fantastic writer and one to watch. If you are looking for a new grimdark or even a new fantasy book to read then I would highly recommend that you read Godblind as it is a fantastic book that will not let you go from the moment you read that first chapter.

Anna Stephens | Goodreads | Facebook | @AnnaSmithWrites

Guest Blog: Book secrets you didn’t know by Taryn Leigh

Author Taryn Leigh jumps on The Bandwagon to reveal secrets you didn’t know about your favourite books.

Taryn Leigh is a South African born citizen, who spent her childhood with her nose buried in books. Her love for reading transpired into her ambition to become a writer. She first tried her hand at blogging, which eventually led to her writing her first novel. She lives in Pretoria, with her husband, son, and two cocker spaniels.

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Secrets of Thirteen Reasons Why

Not every character in the series is in the book.

When the writers brought the 288-page book to life as a 13-hour series, they had to expand the world of the story with new characters.

“I think of the book as this outline of Hannah’s story, and then from that, the writers of the series — with Jay’s blessing — added so many details and plots that allow the viewer to unpack the story to a greater extent,” Hannah said. “The new characters help out flesh out this world.”

Her character Stephanie is among the new additions, which meant Hannah was acting from a clean slate. She’s one of Courtney’s best friends and “a ditzy take on the typical mean girl,” Hannah explained. “When I got the breakdown for this character, it was funny because the script just said, ‘Stephanie (pretty, dumb.)’.”

Read more from the source here.

 

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Secrets of Perfect Imperfections by Taryn Leigh

“Edward’s character in the book is actually inspired by my real life husband. Also the mention of Wuthering Heights in the book is a hint towards my husband, as Wuthering Heights is the very first book he gave me when we had just started dating.

One day we were walking in a flea market, and he picked up a used copy of Wuthering Heights sold by a book merchant, and bought it for me. He then took me to the park, and sat playing with my hair as I read the first few chapters. He won my heart that day!”

 

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Secrets of JK Rowling, Author of Harry Potter

JK Rowling finds ways to bring elements of herself into her books.

She and Harry Potter share a birthday, July 31st. She is reported as saying that Hermione is a bit like her when she was younger, and her favourite animal is an otter—which is, of course, Hermione’s patronus. Plus, both Dumbledore and Rowling like sherbet lemons (Rowling said that the wizard’s “got good taste”).

Read more from the source here.

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Secrets of Karen Swan, Author of Christmas at Tiffany’s

Karen Swans real name is Karen Anne Swan MacLeod.

Much as she loves her very Scottish name, Swan had to drop the MacLeod when she started writing blockbuster fiction since the shorter name suited the flamboyantly embossed covers of her saucy books.

“I’d always written as a journalist as Karen Swan MacLeod. Dad’s family name is actually MacSwan MacLeod, so we’re very Scottish. I think Karen Swan sounds like a made-up name for someone who writes sexy, romantic novels.”

Read more from the source here.

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About Perfect Imperfections

Sarah Lewis desires nothing more than to begin again after a failed marriage and a tragedy so terrifying, it forces her to leave her life in London to stay with her best friend a world apart in South Africa.

Despite immediate success in her business, she struggles to understand who she really is and where she belongs in the world. So begins a journey of discovery as Sarah re-unites with Katy in the land where she was born, where the air is lavender scented, and weekends are spent cycling on the beach.

Until the day when she has to return to London to face the ghosts of her past and confront a situation that has grown more complicated in her absence.

Perfect Imperfections is an intriguing tale which hints at wrongdoings and deceit without giving too much away. The author cleverly weaves a tale around fragile yet strong Sarah as she tries to reconcile her past with her future, engaging the reader to the point where we simply want the best for her and for happiness finally to come her way.

Find Taryn Leigh on social media

Facebook: @PerfectImperfectionsTarynLeigh

Twitter: @tarynleighbook

Instagram: @tarynleighbooks

Website: https://olympiapublishers.com/books/perfect-imperfections

The Handmaid’s Tale: Heart of glass

The Handmaid’s Tale hit our screens in the UK on Channel 4 three weeks ago, several weeks behind the US.

Please note, there will be spoilers for the first three episodes below. Proceed with caution.

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In Gilead, women are ranked on how useful they are to society. If they’re fertile, they become a Handmaid, subjected to rape by their Commander, and expected to bear children. Written in 1985, this story is still harshly poignant. The TV show takes this story even further, bringing it into the present day, and showing just how close we are to such a world.

Last week, viewers were shocked by the harsh storylines. Ofglen, a lesbian, was considered a gender traitor, and, since she’s still fertile, was allowed to live. But she was subjected to a horror that women and girls still face today – FGM. I’ve seen complaints about the violence depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale, but let me tell you this – the violence brought against women every day is very real, and, in order to do it justice, it must be shown.

Everything about The Handmaid’s Tale is real. It may be a story, but author Margaret Atwood claims that she didn’t make anything up – everything she wrote about had happened to women at some point in history. And I can believe it.

In episode 3, we also discover the slow disintegration of society, and the removal of women’s rights. Offred describes it perfectly: “Nothing changes instantaneously. In a gradually heating bathtub, you’d be boiled to death before you knew it”. The women lost access to their money, their jobs – their freedom. Joan – Offred’s pre-Gilead name – and her friend Moira attend a protest, where the army opens fire, killing civilians. They show Joan, Moira, and Luke, Joan’s husband, in their home, discussing what had happened. “I’ll look after you,” Luke says, and every female viewer clenches their fists. That’s not the point, Luke.

Moira explodes at Luke, calling him part of the problem. This scene shines a light on the microaggressions women have to deal with every day, dealing with men who, thinking they’re helping, are actually contributing to the problem.

The music accompanying the fallout of the protest is Heart of Glass by Blondie, the Crabtree Remix. It’s slower, darker, haunting. Every episode so far has left me reeling. My fists are tight balls throughout each episode, my jaw clenched. Tears are barely held back. Because this is reality, not some dystopian fiction. The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t just some TV show to entertain the masses on a Sunday evening. It’s so much more than that – it’s our lives.

Ask The Author: Patricia Bossano

Award-winning author Patricia Bossano grew up in Ecuador, South America and moved to the United States in the mid 1980’s to pursue a career in International Sales, as well as work as a translator, interpreter and instructor in Spanish.

PBossano_HeadshotOver the years, writing continued to be Patricia’s main passion whether journaling, writing letters, short stories, and eventually, composing full-length novels.  Patricia published the first of the Fairie books in 2009, starting with Faery Sight (winner of the 2010 Golden Quill Award of Excellence from the League of Utah Writers), followed by Cradle Gift in 2009. In 2016, Patricia left the corporate world to follow her dream of being a full-time writer, allowing her to complete the third installation of the Faerie Series with the 2017 release of Nahia. The trilogy chronicles the history of a matriarchal faery family and serves as “a celebration of the relationships between mothers, daughters and sisters” within Patricia’s family.   Patricia is a full-time writer residing in Southern California.

What inspired you to start writing?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had issues with excessive blushing. Even though I thought I had a lot to say, speaking in front of my classmates turned me into a Gossamer lookalike—you know, the hairy red monster on Bugs Bunny and various other Looney Tunes shows. I’d heat up until my chest and face were covered in red blotches and everyone would point, laugh, and ask “why”, which only added to my anxiety.

Around the time I was in the 4th grade, a light went on for me about the importance of language, and that’s when my affinity with the written word began to unfold. Inspired by a desire to communicate without becoming a blotchy, uncomfortable, bright-red mess, I began writing in journals and in letters to my family when I was in elementary school. By the time I was a teenager, I had moved on to write short stories and essays, after which I began tackling full-length novels in my twenties.

What do you wish you’d known about the publishing process?

Whether you go the traditional route or independent, the publishing process is an overall complex industry filled with limitations and flexibility. What I hadn’t known or expected was that becoming a published writer would make me confront my fears on a daily basis, force me to define my dreams, and challenge me not just to believe in them, but to also follow through with making those dreams come true.

The publishing process is the daily battle of the spiritual warrior, and although I might lose a battle here and there, I’m aiming to win the war by creating a body of work that—in the end—reflects my overall transformation in style, language, experience, and personal growth throughout the various stages of my life.

Tell us more about your book.

My Faerie Trilogy chronicles the lives of key matriarchs in a hybrid (faery-human) family. Nahia is the third installment in the series, and it is the story of a rebellious faery princess who struggles with satisfying her own desires over what’s best for her loved ones.

Following her heart in pursuit of the human she loves, Nahia hides her true identity as a faery in order to enter the human dimension. After giving birth to a daughter, Nahia’s true identity is revealed, as is the realization that she has forever altered the genetic human footprint. Faced with death, Nahia returns to the faery realm only to have its weight thrust upon her. In the aftermath of the vicious attack that made her an orphan and deprived them of the magical Keeper of the Forest, the faerie realm enters a dormant state.

To save her home and renew ties with both her human and faerie family, Nahia finds a way to reawaken the realm, become the new Faery Queen, and provide a royal descendant for the new Keeper of the Forest.

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What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Plan: Out of respect for the reader, I begin a new project with three paragraphs detailing the beginning, middle, and ending of the novel. From there, I outline each chapter, establishing the structure of the book while looking for timeline issues or plot gaps. When I feel comfortable with the flow, I begin fleshing out the chapters.

Prioritize: Create a reasonable work timeline and stick to it out of respect for your craft and for the people you love. Respect your writing hours so the people who love you will too, and give them the assurance that when your daily writing hours are finished, your time is theirs.

Persist: Give it your best and never give up on your dreams.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently gathering information and interviewing family members for my grandpa’s biography, which I’m thinking of writing from my grandmother’s point of view (to keep to the matriarchal theme). I’m also evaluating the next steps for my publishing imprint, WaterBearer Press, whose initial projects include a collection of ghost/paranormal stories, and other works by talented merry faeries in my family.

What are you reading right now?

I must confess, during these weeks leading up to the launch of Nahia on June 20th, I’ve been re-reading the entire trilogy from start to finish! But the next book I plan to read once my nerves settle down is Anne Rice’s, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis.

Nahia will be released on June 20th 2017, and the rest of the trilogy is available on Amazon now.

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